Maitland is the place to be on the weekend of Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April for the 35th anniversary of Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest.
The beloved event at Maitland Station and Central Maitland celebrates the Hunter’s industrial heritage with a weekend full of steam engines, antique machinery, classic cars and family fun.
The heart of Steamfest is its impressive assembly of steam trains. Kids delight in watching the trains and get a thrill from seeing and hearing them up close.
Festival goers can watch the annual Great Train Race where the trains go head to head with a Tigermoth Aeroplane or jump on board a unique train trip around the Hunter. Children especially love riding on the beautifully restored 1920s Tin Hare. They can also enjoy miniature trackless train rides around the festival grounds.
Exciting activities will be available everywhere you look from coal shovelling races to the market stalls and even a chance to decorate an old steam portable engine.
And the real cherry on top is Steamfest’s Carnival Lane, packed full of amusement rides. In a Steamfest first, amusement rides will be running through to 9.00pm for an evening of entertainment.
While you’ve got the family all aboard for a trip to Maitland, consider staying a few extra days to see some of the other family friendly attractions nearby. Here are some of the best.
Get Imaginative at Maitland Regional Art Gallery
Housed inside a beautiful heritage building, Maitland Regional Art Gallery is a wonderful place to explore.
During Steamfest weekend there will be exhibitions on show. Children can let their imaginations run wild during the Free Art Sunday workshops at MRAG from 10.30am every Sunday.
If tummies are rumbling you can enjoy a bite to eat at the gallery’s popular Seraphine Cafe which has a special menu for under 12s. The waffles with ice cream and maple syrup are always a hit. Please note the gallery is closed Mondays.
Get Goosebumps at Maitland Gaol
If your kids are game for a spooky adventure why not take a tour of Maitland Gaol? There are several guided and self guided tours of the former maximum security prison available, including ones suitable for children.
A great choice is 150 Years Under Lock and Key, a 90 minute family friendly guided tour, where your guide will share stories of heroes and villains as you delve into all parts of the gaol.
During a self guided tour especially for primary school aged kids, ‘Snitch the Rat’ will lead children on an adventure through the cells. Daily guided tours depart at 11.00am on weekends. Self guided audio tours are available between 10.00am and 3.00pm.
Satisfy Sweet Cravings at Miss Lily’s Lollies
For a real life Willy Wonka experience, check out Miss Lily’s Lollies in the historical town of Morpeth just outside of Maitland. There are so many sweet treats to choose from here, from giant lollipops and American Candy to liquorice and homemade fudge.
See the World’s Biggest Ugg Boots
There is nothing quite like an iconic family happy snap with one of Australia’s big landmarks and Maitland is the perfect place to take one, being home to the world’s biggest UGG boots.
The Big UGG Boots, which are out the front of Mortels Sheepskin Factory in Thornton, are made from fibreglass and steel and weigh a whopping 600 kilograms each.
Afterwards, head inside to buy your own pair of genuine UGG Boots, then grab a bite to eat at the cafe.
Get Active at Maitland Park
This isn’t your average park. This huge all abilities playground is a beautifully manicured wonderland complete with swings, a flying fox, rock walls, slides, sensory play and more.
There are also sporting fields, ample shady picnic areas, gas barbecues and a swimming pool.
There is a liberty swing for wheelchair users as well as specially designed seats for those in wheelchairs on the swing carousel and the flying foxes.
Maitland was made for families, so come and enjoy all that the area has to offer and you’re on the right track for a weekend to remember. Visit www.makeitmaitland.com.au to secure your accommodation from a range of offers currently available.
Steamfest is a COVID Safe event and Maitland Council will respond to the latest public health advice to keep the community safe